By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – How do filmmakers manipulate the screen to make their point? Images on a dark screen look ominous; on a light screen images seem more positive. Third graders at Bryn Mawr Film Institute know.

They are learning to view screens with an educated eye so they won’t be easily fooled. And teachers find this new understanding leads to better story writing. Unique in the state, Bryn Mawr Film Institute trains teachers and students in five sessions at no cost to school districts.

Need a boost in your lesson plan? BMFI helps by finding the ideal illustrative film.

For a fourth grade class on immigration, the Institute screened an animated film, “An American Tail” where Russian mice face the difficulties of making a decision to emigrate, to travel, to adjust. All in a less threatening world of mice, as only the movie magic can produce.

Most important, Institute staff knows the best questions to ask afterwards, giving kids the opportunity to talk about what they’ve seen.

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